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Adult learning at Congregation Beth El welcomes everyone, aware that we each come to Jewish learning from our different personal backgrounds.
For us, adult Jewish learning is about applying our intellectual and spiritual curiosities in order achieve new personal insights and Jewish literacy.
For each of us to strive according to our own interests for deeper understanding about our Jewish identities, renewed religious or spiritual character, heightened ethical awareness, and a love of Judaism. As we each may desire, to be able to see the experiences of our lives through the lens of the Jewish People’s story, ideas, and values.
Beth El Is Thursday, our BEIT Midrash program, offers courses that tell the Jewish story. Classes rotate throughout the year selected from a variety of subjects including Bible, Rabbinic Texts, Jewish Ethics and Values, Liturgy and Synagogue Skills, Celebrations and Observances, History and Modernity, Jewish Thought, Arts and Culture, and the Hebrew language. Throughout the year we welcome and learn with a variety of scholars and guest speakers.
We hope our courses intrigue, our teachers inspire, and our learning is meaningful.

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Welcome to BEIT: Beth El Is Thursday

Everyone is welcome to join in our online BEIT Midrash on Thursday evenings. On each Beth El is Thursday evening you’ll choose from among a variety of online experiences and courses.
BEIT learning experiences take place during two time slots. At 6:30 p.m. choose one from a number of experiences. At 7:45 p.m. attend the weekly BEIT feature: Rabbi Shulman’s class, a guest lecture or presentation, or a special program.
Our faculty and speakers are local favorites and guests from many places.
In our BEIT theme this fall, Judaism Revealed, we’ll unmask all sorts of Jewish ideas, customs, mysteries, and cultural expressions.

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Weekly BEIT sessions begin on October 15th. Below is October’s schedule of classes. The November and December class schedules will be published soon, including courses taught by Rabbi Phil Graubart, Dr. Joellyn Zollman, and Dr. Amelia Glaser. BEIT continues through December 17th.


All BEIT Sessions are on Zoom this Fall. Zoom links will be available before each session.
Don't Tread on Us: Flags in Jewish Tradition and Modernity
Dr. Bard Cosman

October 15, 22, & 29

Come understand the role flags play in Jewish tradition and the role Jewish tradition plays in modern flags. What do they symbolize? What are their origins? Dr. Cosman bases this fun class on an article of his that won the 2019 best paper award from the North American Vexillological (study of the history, symbolism, and usage of flags) Association.
Bard Cosman, MD, FACS, FASCRS, is a board-certified surgeon and professor in the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He teaches students and residents and trains fellows in surgical procedures. He has authored or coauthored more than 50 articles that have been published in a variety of journals. Bard is an active member of Congregation Beth El who often teaches following morning minyan and delivers occasional sermons on Shabbat.
From Joseph to Freud: The Meaning of Dreams in Ancient and Modern Times
Dr. Oded Shezifi
October 15, 22, & 29
The mystery of dreams has occupied humans' thoughts for thousands of years.  What do we truly know about the meaning of these night visions? Are they really the royal road to our unconscious? Do they have meaning and purpose? In this class we will review famous biblical dreams and their interpretations. We will see how in ancient times dreams shaped the decisions of pharaohs whereas in modern times their meaning is often reduced to random neural activity in the brain.  Do we really know today more about dreams than what Joseph knew back in Egypt? 
Dr. Oded Shezifi is a clinical psychologist who also teaches at UCSD-Extension. He is a play therapist supervisor and a certified Jewish mindfulness teacher. Oded has served as a medic and aviation physiology instructor at the IAF and has worked as a clinician at Jewish Family Service where he supervised and taught clinical interns the History of Psychotherapy. 
Between Jews & Christians
Dr./Reverend Reinhard Krauss
October 15, 22, & 29
We’ll explore different approaches to thinking about the relationship between Jews and Christians by reading and discussing Christian and Jewish voices through history.
Dr. Reinhard Krauss is the Executive Director of the Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies. Since 2008 he has taught Inter-religious Studies as a Lecturer at the Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA. Dr. Krauss is a recipient of Interfaith understanding awards. He earned his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Beginning Hebrew Reading
Prayer Book Hebrew Reading
Robin Shulman
Begins October 15 and continues each week BEIT meets.
Learn basic Hebrew reading for synagogue services. This is a comfortable first step for discovering or rediscovering your ability to read Hebrew.
Torah Reading
Ran Anbar
Begins October 15 and continues each week BEIT meets.
Learn to read Torah or grow your Torah reading skills. If you wish, read Torah on occasional Shabbat mornings as member of our Torah reading squad. We meet on a regular basis to teach Torah trope to beginners, review trope with more experienced readers, and practice upcoming Torah readings.

beit feature | 7:45 p.m.

Musar: Uncovering Jewish Ethics
Rabbi Ron Shulman
October 15, 22, & 29
Unique in Jewish expression, 18th and 19th century Musar literature seeks to inspire ethical behavior and spiritual reflection. Join Rabbi Shulman in exploring some of the classic texts of Musar tradition including “The Path of the Upright” by Rabbi Moses Hayyim Luzzatto.

sukkot symposium - october 8, 7 p.m.

How Are We To Speak of Antisemitism in a Time of Increasing Hatred, Coronavirus, Economic Anxiety and Increased Polarization?
Thursday, October 8 
7:00 p.m.
Join us on Zoom here
Guest Speaker Dr. Michael Berenbaum Michael Berenbaum is the Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust and a Professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University. The author and editor of 20 books, he was also the Executive Editor of the Second Edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica. He was Project Director overseeing the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the first Director of its Research Institute and later served as President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which took the testimony of 52,000 Holocaust survivors in 32 languages and 57 countries. His work in film has won Emmy Awards and Academy Awards.

One aspect of the Sukkot festival is to gather together in Jewish community and consider shared concerns and needs. Historically, Sukkot was a time of great community meetings. This is the purpose of our Sukkot Symposium, to honor the holiday we celebrate by thinking together about the condition of our Jewish lives and the world in which we live.

special parents' program - October 25, 10 a.m.

A Special Parents' Program
When the World Feels Like a Scary Place
Sunday October 25, 10 a.m. on Zoom
Join child psychiatrist Dr. Abigail Gewirtz for an essential conversation for anxious parents and worried kids. Dr. Gewirtz is the author of When the World Feels Like a Scary Place, an urgent and necessary book that brings solutions to a problem that is only going to get worse, how bad things happening in the world affect our children, and how we can raise engaged and confident kids in spite of them. (Program arranged courtesy of the Jewish Book Council.)

shabbat torah study october 31, November 7 & 14

Torah Study with Rabbi Ron Shulman
Saturdays, October 31, November 7, & November 14
12:15 p.m. on Zoom, following Shabbat Morning Services
Discovering insights for our lives from the tests of Abraham’s life.

beit: featured guest lectures 2020-21

Thursday evenings, 7:45 p.m.
Our featured guest lectures through the Jewish Book Council this year include:
            Yousef Bashir, author of The Words of My Father on November 12, 2020
                        A call for peace with Israel through the experience of a Palestinian American.
            Rabbi Laura Geller, author of Getting Good at Getting Older on December 3, 2020.
Discovering how Jewish tradition and culture help create a new paradigm for growing older.
            Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, author of Embracing Auschwitz on January 7, 2021.
                        Forging a Vibrant Life-Affirming Judaism that takes the Holocaust seriously.
            Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, author of Remix Judaism on February 4, 2021.
                        Preserving tradition creatively in a diverse world.
            Rabbi Vanessa Ochs, author of The Passover Haggadah, A Biography on March 11, 2021.
                        Telling the story behind our most familiar Jewish text.
            Neal Bascomb, author of Faster on April 22, 2021.
                        How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car beat Hitler’s best.
    Rabbi Avram Mlotek, author of Why Jews Do That on May 6, 2021.
            A one-stop shop for answers to the questions you were too shy or afraid to ask.
Sun, September 27 2020 9 Tishrei 5781